October 2021 Jobs Report: Employers Add 531,000 Jobs

By Robert Half on November 5, 2021 at 8:30am

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that employers added 531,000 jobs in October, marking 10 months of consecutive payroll expansion in the U.S. economy. These gains outpace many analysts’ expectations that employers would add about 450,000 positions.

The latest jobs report also notes that new job creation in August and September was higher than previously reported — by 235,000 positions. With these adjustments, the U.S. economy has seen employment rise by more than 5.2 million jobs since the beginning of 2021. 

Leisure and hospitality led October’s job growth

The BLS reports that employment in leisure and hospitality increased by 164,000 jobs last month. This sector is still on the rebound from severe pandemic-related business disruption.

Professional and business services also saw a notable increase in employment last month, with employers adding 100,000 roles. That figure includes 41,100 jobs in temporary help services.

Employers in these industries also expanded their payrolls in October, according to the BLS:

  • Education and health services: 64,000 jobs added
  • Manufacturing: 60,000 jobs added
  • Transportation and warehousing: 54,400 jobs added
  • Construction: 44,000 jobs added
  • Retail trade: 35,300 jobs added
  • Financial activities: 21,000 jobs added
  • Wholesale trade: 14,000 jobs added

Unemployment rate falls to 4.6%

The national unemployment rate in October was 4.6%, down from 4.8% in September.

The unemployment rate for college-degreed workers edged down slightly from 2.5% in September to 2.4% in October. These workers are in highest demand by employers.

Number of employed persons working remotely drops to 11.6%

In October, 11.6% of employed persons teleworked because of the coronavirus pandemic, down from 13.2% in the prior month. The BLS describes these workers as employed persons who worked away from the office for pay at some point in the last four weeks specifically because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Also, according to household survey supplemental data from the BLS, the number of people unable to work at all, or who worked fewer hours at some point in the four weeks preceding the latest survey due to the pandemic, dropped from 5.0 million in September to 3.8 million in October.

Get more insight on the latest hiring trends

Robert Half’s Demand for Skilled Talent report provides details on in-demand positions for several key industries, including accounting and finance, technology, healthcare, marketing and creative, and administrative and customer support. In our latest issue, learn about employers’ top three hiring challenges, what strategies businesses are using to recruit skilled talent right now, what types of skills employers seek in their future company leaders, and much more.

Explore the report now on the Robert Half website.

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